Srila Gauranga Das Babaji Maharaj

One of our paramgurudev Sripad Ramdas Babaji Maharaj´s siddha disciples, our spiritual uncle Sri Gauranga Das Babaji Maharaj, had a special relationship with the trees of Vrindavan. He talked to them and read to them from Rādhā-rasa-sudhānidhi and other shastras. During the initial phase of his Vraja-vas, Baba lived amongst the trees and creepers deep in the forest of Vrindavan. He had only his cloth, water pot and mala for posessions. To keep his body in this world he did madhukari.

One evening Baba returned late from madhukari, so he did not read as he usually did. As Baba lay down to sleep under the big barun tree (three-leaved caper), he heard the tree speaking,

“Baba! Won´t you read to us today?”

Baba replied sorrowfully, “Maharaj! I am a vairagi. I have not even a lamp or a match to light it with. How can I read in the dark?”

The tree replied in an affectionate voice, “Just see what I brought for you.” In the knot-hole of the tree, Baba found a big candle and a box of matches. So he sat down to read, and the tree was quite satisfied.

At the later stage of his life Baba took up residence in Radharaman Nivas at Raman Reti. There he never allowed anyone to pick the leaves or twigs from the ashram’s neem trees. Once he asked his servant Manohar Das to tie up a low-hanging branch, but when he did Baba was overwhelmed with sharp chest pains. When the branch was cut free, the pain subsided. The next day, Baba saw a vision of the tree personified as a young boy whose whole body radiated light. The boy cried, ¨How could you tie me up? You have not come here to bind, but to grant freedom (from the bonds of maya).¨ Baba offered his full dandavat to the tree and tearfully begged forgiveness.

Among Sri Gauranga Das Babaji Maharajś disciples is Dr. OBL Kapoor, the writer of Saints of Bengal, Saints of Vraja, and The Life of Love, the English translation of Boro Babaji´s biography, and other books. On the day OBL Kapoor first met Baba, Baba gave him some special advice. Dr. Kapoor writes in Saints of Bengal:

Gesturing towards the neem trees of his ashram, he said, “If there is anything that afflicts you, do not worry. Go and tell your tale to a kalpataru over there. Every tree in Vrindavan is a kalpataru. If you embrace it and speak your heart to it, it listens and helps. There is nothing it cannot help you with. It can even present you the most cherished objects of your heart – Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, if you so desire.”

Bābā continued, “Listen and I will give you an example. A young boy, aspiring after the darshan of Kṛṣṇa, renounced the world and came to Vrindavan. Although he was from a high class family and was brought up in the lap of luxury, he became a Bābājī and lived in utter seclusion in the forests and practised bhajana thoughout the day. Only once in the evening he would go out into a nearby village for mādhukari. He roamed half-naked, wearing only a loin cloth made of gunny. One winter morning when the weather was drizzly, he began to shiver with cold. Since there was no other shelter in the forest, he sat inside the hollow of an old tree and began to meditate on Kṛṣṇa, shedding tears in His remembrance. After some time passed he heard a voice coming from another tree in front of him. That tree said to the tree in which Bābā was hiding, “Look, a mahātmā has taken shelter of you. Grant him your mercy.’

‘Why don’t you grant him your mercy?’ replied the other tree.

“Then from the tree in front a peacock flew down and stood before Bābā with it’s tail unfurled. Then another peacock flew down, and another, till a semi-circle of peacocks was formed around Bābā. And the next moment he saw standing before him in the midst of the peacocks Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself, with a peacock feather in his crown, the flute held in His hands near His mouth and a bewitching smile on His lips.”… Gauraṅga Dās Bābājī did not name the young Bābā who was thus blessed with the vision of Śrī Kṛṣṇa by the mercy of the kalpatarus of Vrindavan. But as I came to know later, the story related to none other than himself.”

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